Friday, January 20, 2006

Radio Silence, or: America, I Wish I Could Quit You!

I’ve gotten so many wonderful letters and notes from people who have been concerned about some of the recent events mentioned here.

Wise and perceptive comments from folks who felt it was worth a moment of their time to check in, see how I was doing, and offer words of encouragement and helpful suggestions.

It sobers you up a bit to see beyond your little hole and be reminded that you’re not the only one who’s taken a few knocks or who’s suffered in similar circumstances.

Most of them don’t feel the need to whine about it in public, however.

It surprises you a little to see how many people are pulling for you.

I’m going to try and not let them down.

So to all of them, to all of you:

Thank you. I won’t soon forget a single one of you, or the kindness you extended to me during a very difficult time.

It’s funny. I was thinking the other day that there was someone else who recently quit a 20-year job and has had to start from scratch.

Howard Stern.

Now, granted, Howard’s got $500 million dollars of compensation to help him through the rough patches. But still, it’s got to be a little strange to go from 18 million listeners to about a sixth of that, even if you have gained the creative freedom to do what you want to do.

Like I said, $500 million. It’s hard to feel sorry for him, exactly.

I’d rather he get the money than some of the folks getting hired in broadcasting these days, though.

CNN, which seems bent on making their initials stand for “Conservative News Network,” just announced the hiring of right-wing nut Glenn Beck, who will host his own one-hour talk show on Headline News.

Beck is a syndicated radio show host whose show originates from (you guessed it) Philadelphia and who is fond of doing things like calling Cindy Sheehan “a pretty big prostitute” and musing aloud about how he’s “thinking about killing Michael Moore,” all while he’s waving the flag and shooting fireworks out of his ass.

It’s no mystery why these guys seem to be the only ones getting work during a period when wrestling has become so popular.

Right-wing radio hosts are basically doing old wrestling shtick. Remember when they’d interview the wrestlers between bouts and they’d talk about how they’re gonna tear so-and-so apart so he better watch out? It was hilarious. It was the only reason you’d watch, really.

Only now people take the wrestlers, and the talk-show hosts, seriously.

They all put the asses in the seats, as the saying goes, by acting outrageously and saying stupid and outrageous things.

And that is the only thing that is important any more. There are no longer any such concepts as embarrassment, originality, or integrity in commercial broadcasting any longer.

And the biggest rewards go to those that lie about it the best.

Beck is “cordial,” says CNN, and his show will not be “confrontational.”

Which I think is what they said right before Michael Savage told a caller on MSNBC that he was a “pig,” a "sodomite," and "a piece of garbage" who should “get AIDS and die.”

It’s getting hard to hold your head up in this country.


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